Eva Recacha: Aftermath review – choreographing something out of nothing

Twice a finalist in the Place prize for choreography, Eva Recacha is much admired within the dance world, little known beyond. Aftermath is a two-hander, performed by Eleanor Sikorski and Charlotte Maclean, two characters stuck in eternal limbo. How are they going to fill this time on this stage together? It seems like a live question. And how easy is it to make a piece about pointlessness that doesn’t itself feel pointless?

The set-up is meant as a parallel for a post-truth, post-feminism, post-everything world. What matters? Why do anything? It’s post-dance, too, you could say. Not that it lacks dancing, but the movement is not about technical finesse. Be it with little semaphore gestures or clumsily stilted walks, it sets a tone: of absurdity, otherness, awkwardness, couldn’t-care-less-ness. Sometimes they follow arrow markings on the floor. It doesn’t much matter what they do to get there. Herewith life’s futility: A to B and that’s that.

Sikorski is by turns blank, mildly peeved and mightily pissed off. Maclean, with great comic delivery, plays her naive foil. The best moment comes when Maclean asks, “Am I going to be fine?” and Sikorski launches into a hyped-up tirade against the mediocrity of “fine” as an aspiration. The pair heat up to a giddy, edge-of-madness energy reminiscent of early French and Saunders. It’s rare to see two women being ridiculous, willingly unattractive – and funny.

Aftermath throws up some ideas about femininity and motherhood, but doesn’t particularly care to investigate them. What’s the point, after all. Recacha is not about to break the mainstream, but her quietly radical, amusing work will keep its admirers.

Naive foil … Charlotte Maclean in Aftermath. Photograph: Tristram Kenton for the Guardian

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